Several merchant groups are asking members of Congress to hear their opposition to the swipe-fee settlement announced in July.
The proposed multi-billion dollar settlement would settle a longstanding legal dispute over the fees card networks charge for accepting payments. Visa, MasterCard and serveral major banks proposed to establish a $6.05 billion fund for the affected merchants, as well as temporarily reduce the amount they charge for accepting card payments. The card networks also agreed to allow merchants impose a surcharge for card payments they accept from consumers.
Some large merchants and merchant groups have tried to fight the settlement.
A number of groups authored a letter explaining why they oppose the settlement. The letter's authors are the National Association of College Stores, the National Association of Convenience Stores, the National Association of Truck Stop Operators, the National Community Pharmacists Association, the National Cooperative Grocers Association, the National Grocers Association, the National Retail Federation, the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America.
"Quite simply, the proposed settlement is a bad deal for merchants and their customers," the organizations said in a Sept. 20 press release announcing the letter. "While the card networks and their representatives have suggested it is a fait accompli, the growing objections from the merchant community foreshadow the fight that lies ahead as Visa and MasterCard attempt to force the terms of the settlement on nearly 8 million merchants."
The banks and card networks stand by their proposed settlement.
"After seven years of litigation, mediation and negotiation, this settlement is the very best and most realistic outcome possible for all involved," said Trish Wexler, spokeswoman for the Electronic Payments Coalition, in an emailed statement.
The arguments these retail groups make "were already considered in the course of negotiations," she wrote. "We remain confident that this truly is the end, and that preliminary approval and eventually final approval will be granted by the court."